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Interview Waiver for Some U.S. Visas
Waiver of Interview Requirement for First-Time Student, Exchange, and Temporary Employment Visa Applicants
March 30, 2022



As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the interview waiver eligibility has been expanded to include some first-time applicants for student, exchange, and petition-based visas.  This means that some visa applicants that do not meet the requirements listed on our visa service website, may now be eligible and can have their visa application processed without an in-person interview.

The expansion covers first-time applicants for the following visa types:

  • Petition-based temporary employment visa types: H-1, H3, H-4, non-blanket L, O, P, and Q;
  • Student and exchange visitor visa types: F, M, and academic J.

Conditions that must be met:

  • Must be applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence;
  • Must either have been previously issued any type of U.S. visa or be a citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Program participating country with prior travel via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA);
  • Must not have been denied ESTA;
  • Must have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived;
  • Must have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.

Additional notes for students and exchange visitors: We cannot accept reciprocity payments for extended visa validity if applying by mail. If you require a visa with a longer validity date than 16 months, please schedule an appointment: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/no/no-niv-appointmentschedule.asp. Also, if we receive the application more than 120 days in advance of the program start date, we cannot approve the visa until within 120 days of the program start date.

Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration remain eligible for interview waiver.

How to Apply:

Please visit our U.S. Visa Information Service website for complete information on how to apply. Please be aware that current processing time for mailing in your application is 4 weeks, so you are encouraged to submit your application well in advance of your planned travel date. Processing time varies depending on the case.  If eligible, we highly recommend mailing in your application.

Please be aware that final determination always rests with the consular officer, and that you may be required to apply in person if determined by consular officer after review of your application. In this case, you will be contacted by consular staff with more information.

For more information, please see the below resources: